It is easy to see trends in the composite catcher rankings below.
Notice the composite scores in parenthesis? Many of the catcher rankings come in bunches, with certain player scores coming incredibly close to each other. If nothing else, it can help make things easier for those who want to tier their catcher rankings.
The following composite list were created by factoring in rankings from ESPN, Yahoo, Sports Illustrated, Fanball and Sporting News. So … you don’t need to visit each site individually, we have it all here in one convenient place:
1. Joe Mauer, Minnesota (5 pts). Plenty has been written about Mauer here at chinstrapninjas.com, including an unpopular drafting strategy involving him and other top-tiered catchers and a well-written counter argument from ep. No matter what your opinion on Mauer, the facts remain clear … he is coming off a career year and has the ability to lead catchers again in 2010 in a variety of categories. It’s all a matter of how much you want to pay for him … and if his sudden power boost will remain?
2. Brian McCann, Atlanta (11). Although he saw a slight slip in homers, batting average, steals and runs scored, McCann boosted his RBI numbers in 2009. New LASIK surgery can’t hurt and he’s arguably the best offensive weapon the Braves have to offer. If they can provide some more protection in the order, McCann should continue to keep himself near the top of this list.
3. Victor Martinez, Boston (14). All you need to know about Martinez is his stat line after being dealt to the Red Sox: .336, 8 homers, 41 RBI. Project that over a full season in a lineup loaded with protection and Martinez is clearly a better option than those below him on this list.
4. Matt Wieters, Baltimore (28). Don’t just look at Wieters as the fourth-highest player on this list, but more at his composite score and how incredibly close it is to the next couple options. Wieters has plenty of talent, but hasn’t proven that he can live up to the hype, yet. He still is a decent option in a fairly shallow position, but there is a clear drop-off from the first three guys to Wieters.
5. Miguel Montero, Arizona (30). A huge breakout player last season, Montero is still considered a sleeper by some. However, as this composite ranking proves, he isn’t going to take anyone by surprise. As with Wieters, he is a decent option at one of the most shallow positions in fantasy baseball, but expect to pay more than you were thinking for Montero, who hasn’t been a top option for a full season, not to mention most of his career so far.
6. Jorge Posada, New York Yankees (31). Many are scared off by his age, but Posada had nice bounceback numbers in 2009 and bats in a loaded lineup. Those pieces alone make him a decent play most of the season. He isn’t going to carry you in steals by any stretch of the imagination, but he should provide 20-plus homer pop and a .280-plus average.
7. Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers (38). An elite catcher just two seasons ago, Martin’s numbers across the board have tailed off considerably each of the past two years. Oddly enough, both his speed and power numbers have taken a hit. He is talented enough to bounce back somewhat, but would it would take a lot of luck to move up this list any higher
8. (tie) Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs (47). Much like Martin, Soto had a very impressive 2008 and much was expected of him last season. Again, like Martin, Soto regressed across the board. His slow start (.230, 8 homers, 27 RBI before the All-Star break) led to an even worse finish (.205, 4, 20). Still, it is interesting to me that fantasy owners seem ready to assume that Martin will magically bounce back to prominence while Soto will be a non-factor. At this point, with either player, you won’t get a return on your investment unless they can show a dramatic comeback. The difference is that Soto will cost you much less on draft day.
8. (tie) Mike Napoli, Los Angeles Angels (47). Napoli turned in his second consecutive season of 20 home runs and a decent uptick in his runs and RBI numbers. While not a flashy option, Napoli, at the moment, may have a lower ceiling than Martin and Soto, but may prove to be the less risky pick of the three. One thing to watch, though, is how Napoli’s numbers are affected by the loss of overall talent on the Angels roster this offseason.
10. Bengie Molina, San Francisco (48). Few catchers are as ripe for a decline as Molina. He’s aging fast, and while he still quietly produced solid catching stats last year, he didn’t bring much interest in the free agent market this offseason and finds himself back in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. The biggest concern, however, is young catching phenom Buster Posey, who’s too talented not to start receiving more playing time.
11. Ryan Doumit, Pittsburgh (49). Another catcher that impressed in 2008 but failed to deliver last season, Doumit was more a victim of injury (wrist and concussion issues) than flat-out poor play. His impressive September (.346, 2, 12), however, may be a sign that he’s going to rebound this year.
12. Kurt Suzuki, Oakland (50). After back-to-back seven-homer seasons in 2007 and 2008, Suzuki saw a power surge in the second half of last season that helped him finish with 15 long balls. Now, the question remains whether Suzuki continues the power uptick, or if he takes a Russell Martin-esque downturn.
13. A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox (61). What Pierzynski’s numbers lack in sizzle, they make up for in quiet consistency. He has produced double-digit homers for seven consecutive seasons and his batting average finished at a three-year high at .300. Don’t expect a major upspike in numbers from Pierzynski, but you could do worse on draft day.
14. Yadier Molina, St. Louis (69). Yadier’s nine steals last season was second-best at the position, but chalk that up to other players underproducing and not that Yadier suddenly became flight of foot. He doesn’t produce enough home runs, either, to be a reliable starting fantasy catcher, either. Molina’s best attributes are his batting average and an OK RBI output.
15. Miguel Olivo, Colorado (76). Olivo hit 23 homers last season and on the surface seems to be an intriguing fantasy play. That is, until you see his career .243 batting average. If you need a power infusion, especially in two-catcher leagues, Olivo may be a sneaky play … but don’t forget that he’s now in Colorado, battling Chris Iannetta for playing time.
For our ADP-based catcher rankings, go here.
For a review of sleepers at the catcher position, go here.
Who will bust as a fantasy catcher, check this out.